GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A man accused of opening fire at a Littleton middle school was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday afternoon.
Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood faced 15 charges, including attempted first-degree murder.
Eastwood was accused in the shooting last year at Deer Creek Middle School. Two students were injured. Teachers tackled Eastwood and held him down until police arrived at the school.
The school is just miles from Columbine High School, the site of one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
The defense had established that Eastwood was mentally ill. But psychologists testified in court that it doesn’t necessarily mean that Eastwood didn’t know the difference between right and wrong on the day of the shooting.
The defense argued that Eastwood is a very sick man who was delusional and is not guilty by reason of insanity. Defense lawyer Thea Reiff said Eastwood had written in his notebook before last year’s shooting that voices in his head were becoming more threatening.
“They want me to have nothing. Instead, they have me suffering, alive but in pain,” Eastwood noted in one entry.
The notebook included doodles of a man under attack.
Prosecutors said that Eastwood planned the shooting and his actions were deliberate and thought-out. That includes from the time he loaded the gun to getting in the car and driving to the school. Prosecutors said he was trying to seek revenge on the school, where he felt he never fit in.
One of the victim’s mothers says the verdict is upsetting because whether he was sane or not does not take away from the fact that he pulled the trigger.
“I think people confuse mental illness, a clinical term, with insanity, which is a legal term,” said Debra Webber.
“Mr. Eastwood is an extremely ill man and continues to struggle with why he did what he did and is remorseful,” defense attorney Katherine Spengler said.
Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey says he respects the jury’s decision but does not agree with it.
Deer Creek students Reagan Webber and Matt Thieu were injured in the shootings.
Eastwood was found guilty of unlawful possession of weapon on school grounds.